3 Ways To Become An Empathetic Servant-Leader

by | Oct 4, 2020 | Devotional, Featured, Practical Discipleship

3 Ways To Become An Empathetic Servant Leader. Originally posted on www.EmpoweringHope.org on August 23, 2017.

“…The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” -Matthew 20:28

I had to learn a different way what it meant to be an empathetic servant-leader. When I was 22 I only had a few months left at Southeastern University (SEU focused a lot on Matthew 20:28 and servant leadership). I was working a full 18 credit load and I was also the Middle School Pastor at Auburndale Life Church. To say that my life was a bit crazy is an understatement. I’m still not sure how many all-nighters I pulled reading and writing through the night, but it was a lot.

I remember my chapel credits were running low (Yes, even us “Theology Students” had poor chapel credits sometimes) and they told us if we brought in canned goods we could get extra credits. So one night I went to the local grocery store to pick up a few items. When I came out I met a man named Brad who was homeless and currently sitting on the side of the building trying to collect items to survive.

The short story is that Brad had some bad luck hit him and he lost everything. That night, amid all the things I had going on, I sat next to Brad. I listened to his story. I empathized with him. I sat there with him as people passed him by and scoffed at him as if he was a lesser human being because he was homeless. For a split moment I was able to have a glimpse into what his daily life was like. We walk past homeless people scoffing and treating them as lesser people.  And then we have the audacity to say, “It’s their own fault they’re in that position”? Sometimes it may be true, but who is the one keeping them there?

This week, we’re focused on Matthew 20:28. Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve others, and be a ransom for many.” This picture is perfectly demonstrated the night of Jesus’ betrayal as he got down to wash his disciples’ feet. Jesus was/is an empathetic servant-leader of his Father and also a servant to mankind. Likewise, Jesus expects the same from us. To follow Christ means washing the feet of those around you. To follow Christ means to be an empathetic servant-leader.

What does it look like for us to live out this call on our lives as Christ-followers?

1. An Empathetic Servant-Leader Sits Out Of Their Comfort Zone

It’s often said to “step out of your comfort zone.” But stepping out isn’t enough. If you truly want to see lives changed and you want to be a servant of Jesus, you must be willing to sit, eat, and listen to the homeless, widows, orphans, drug addicts, “sinners,” and others who are facing difficult situations. Serving the food pantry is great! We did that when I was a Youth Pastor. That’s stepping out. But are you willing to sit with those people? Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” How can Matthew 20:28 and John 13 revolutionize the way we serve and treat people?

2. An Empathetic Servant-Leader Listens To Understand

When you sit with people in need you recognize that it’s not about you. It’s not about you getting your “Christian Duty” in for the week. These people, who are going through tough times, are not your Christian Good Works Vending Machines. An empathetic servant-leader listens to peoples’ stories not to respond, but to understand. It’s about sharing in their burden and pain like Jesus does with us. Jesus says, “ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus is so intertwined and intimately involved with the Church that Jesus says to Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4). When you scoff at the homeless, the downtrodden, and those oppressed and dealing with pain, you scoff at Jesus himself. We must put away our instinct of listening to respond and allow the Holy Spirit to give us the ears to understand.

3. An Empathetic Servant-Leader Doesn’t Wait To Act

I got to know Brad really well the next few months until I graduated SEU. The following year I was told that Brad had passed away. I was devastated and heart-broken. There was no way for me to stay in contact with him after I left.  Don’t wait. It may be too late for someone that God is calling you to reach. Be active and intentional about reaching your community. If your church isn’t doing anything already, there are plenty of other options available for you. Tell us what area you’re living in, who you’d like to serve, and we’ll connect you with the people that will get you serving in no time.

You have an opportunity to change your world! Don’t wait. Get out of your comfort zone and listen to the stories of those who just want to be heard. People who just want to feel like someone cares about them. My mission is to help you grow closer to Jesus in unique and practical ways. There are few better ways to be more like Jesus than sitting with those in need. You don’t need a PhD to become an empathetic servant-leader, you just need the willingness and, most importantly, obedience when the Holy Spirit calls you to “sit out” of your comfort zone and listen to understand.

Marantha 

-Justin

Leave A Comment

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn’t like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About The Author

Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

Recent Blog Posts

Leave A Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About The Author

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.

M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University

About Justin

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context. He would not be where he is today without his incredible wife, Lauren! While he's a pastor at heart, he's also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

[]
1 Step 1
Contact Me
reCaptcha v3
keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right
FormCraft - WordPress form builder

Follow Me On Social Media

Other Things Justin Does

Subscribe For Updates

What you get when you sign up for my mailing list:

-Latest Articles and Devotions

-New Spiritual Growth Tools

-Giveaways (because who doesn't love giveaways?)

Thanks! You have successfully subscribed!